The Benefits of Train Travel for Business

March 27, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Ever been frustrated by your desire to follow up on some great brainstorming that happened at a business meeting, but you couldn’t take advantage of that spurt of productivity because you were behind the wheel on your way to your next appointment?

If driving several hours between cities has put a big damper on your productivity, you should consider the possibility of taking the train. Whether it’s a commuter or medium- or long-distance intercity service like Amtrak, taking the train to get from here to there may allow you to make great use of the time spent getting to your destination.

Train travel can be an effective mode of business travel. It takes as long as a car trip, but you can get plenty of work done, or just have a good nap, while you're moving.Many business travelers may not be aware that Amtrak offers routes (called “lines” from their hometowns to regional destinations, such as the Hoosier State (Indianapolis to Chicago), Hiawatha Service (Chicago to Milwaukee); Amtrak Cascades (Portland to Seattle to Vancouver, BC); Acela Express (Boston to Washington DC); and The Maple Leaf (New York City to Toronto, via Albany) just to name a few. And they even have business class seating on most trains.

Plus, depending on where you travel, parking in some major cities like New York and Chicago can be extremely expensive and hard to find. Taking a train and catching an Uber or Lyft can help you avoid those headaches.

Here are a few things to consider for train travel for business:

  • Purchasing tickets online is often the best way to take advantage of deals. You can also decrease your costs by purchasing a rail pass if you know you’re going to make several trips via train in a given timeframe.
  • Amtrak offers a mobile app that streamlines your booking and boarding process. You can purchase your ticket through the app and display it during check-in as you would an airline ticket.
  • Amtrak has a loyalty program and accruing points can help you offset the purchase of your ticket just like you do when you book with an airline.
  • If you want to use the train for a multi-city tour with a day or two between cities, you need to purchase individual tickets for each leg of the trip.
  • Wifi and dedicated quiet cars give you the opportunity to make the most of the time spent en route writing that proposal, setting up appointments, or participating in a conference call. To ensure access to these amenities, be sure to book your ticket in business class.
  • Some train stations have business class lounges that allow you to work in a quiet, internet-equipped space as you wait for your train. This area creates a far more conducive atmosphere for conducting business than the crowded waiting area at a gate before a flight.
  • Train travel can have its delays, so be sure to adjust your arrival and departure times to ensure you don’t miss an important meeting due to unforeseen changes in the route’s timetable.
  • If you’d like to burn the midnight oil while you’re riding the rails, you can book a private bedroom and work as late as you need to before retiring. You’ll arrive refreshed at your destination.

Have you ever tried train travel for business? Did it make a difference in your commuter headaches? Share your stories in the comments below, on our Facebook page, orin our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: (Creative Commons 0, Public Domain)

The Future of Train Travel

September 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Imagine this: it’s a beautiful day in New York City. You have the entire day off, haven’t made any plans and are itching to get out. With a desire to break the routine and do something a little different, you hop on a train headed for Los Angeles and within an hour, you’re walking down Venice Beach. If you think this sounds like a scene out of a vintage sci-fi novel, think again. High-speed train travel is a real possibility, and it may come sooner than you think.

Recently, Japan unveiled plans for a magnetic levitation, or “maglev” train. The maglev train (which will travel between Tokyo and Osaka) is expected to travel 100 MPH faster than current bullet trains, will cost $64 billion, and is expected to take over thirty years to complete.

Shanghai Maglev Train on the track

Shanghai Maglev Train on the track (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thankfully, if you want to take a maglev train for a spin, you don’t have to wait that long – visitors to China can take a ride on the Shanghai Maglev Train (SMT), which runs at a top operational speed of 268 mph.

Wondering when you can expect to see high-speed train travel hit the United States? This summer, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to provide $68 billion in funding towards a high-speed train that will travel between Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

While this plan will help revolutionize train travel in the United States, Elon Musk (founder of PayPal and Tesla Motors) recently revealed his idea for a new mode of transportation called the Hyperloop, which will run off of solar energy, go twice as fast as an airplane, and travel between San Francisco and Los Angeles in about thirty minutes.

While such ideas have been floating around for decades, they’ve been slow to implement. According to physicist R.M. Salter (who proposed a detailed underground tube system in 1972), “History has shown that some obvious projects, such as tunneling under the English Channel proposed in the time of Napoleon, can be delayed for centuries because of political pressures” – and, of course, money.

Now that similar projects have already been put into motion, we hopefully won’t have to wait a few hundred years for such innovation to take place within the US.

Would you ride a maglev train if it was available to you? Leave a note in the comments section and tell us what you think about the future of train travel.

Have a Little Time on Your Hands? Travel by Train

August 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

When it comes to your travel “bucket list,” there’s one thing that everyone should try at least once in their lifetime: travel by train.

There’s a common misconception that train travel is boring and downright “old-fashioned” — after all, many people would argue that airplanes were invented for the sole purpose of replacing travel by train. The truth is, train travel is making a comeback, and if you haven’t done so yet, we encourage you to jump on the bandwagon railroad car at least once.

Here are eight great reasons why you should take a trip by train:

1. You can stop and smell the roses

English: The (arguably?) most breath-taking tr...

English: The (arguably?) most breath-taking train travel in the world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While some people simply adore air travel, others find it extremely stressful. The long lines, massive crowds, the “race-against-the-clock” atmosphere or the threat of being trapped in the airport on a long flight delay can be downright anxiety-inducing for some. A relaxing train ride is not only a great option for those that dislike air travel, it’s also a great way to simply relax and enjoy the journey.

2. It’s easier (and more comfortable!) than driving

Train travel has all of the benefits that the good old American road trip does, and then some. Unlike driving, however, you don’t have to stare at mile after mile of boring highway. You can actually get up and walk around. Oh, and if your family starts bickering? You can go hide in another car.

3. It’s a great way to see the country

Sure, air travel will get you to your destination faster, but why not enjoy the view for once? Whether you’re traveling from coast to coast or just a few states away, the beautiful and unique sights you’ll see from a train window will give you a whole new appreciation for this country.

4. You can make stops

Unless you’re planning on parachuting, air travel has one major disadvantage: you can’t make pitstops along the way. Going from New York to Miami? Why not stop in Washington DC, the beaches of North Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia along the way for a little sightseeing?

5. You can increase your travel cred

Sure, you may not be getting off the train in each state, but if you’re traveling by train, you can definitely add those states to the laundry list of states you’ve visited. You’re hereby granted permission.

6. It’s great for families

Travel by train is thrilling for kids of all ages. Not only will your little ones adore the experience, but it’s also a great way to squeeze some learning into your vacation. If you’ve got a child who loves Thomas the Tank Engine, they’ll get a thrill out of a train trip!

7. It’s a great way to meet people

Train travel is a great option for solo travelers, especially when in other countries. Need proof? Watch Before Sunrise… and then go book your train ticket.

8. Upgrades are affordable

For the average traveler, airline upgrades are simply impossible to afford. When planning a trip by train, you’ll be pleased to discover that first class upgrades are actually quite affordable. You can spring for that private sleeping cabin, and it won’t break the bank.

These are just a few of the many reasons why we suggest everyone take a trip by train at least once in their lifetime. Whether you’re traveling within the US or planning the trip-of-a-lifetime abroad, you’ll likely find that train travel isn’t just relaxing, it’s also quite memorable.